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189,000 killed or injured in Iran road accidents last year

Director of Interior Ministry's Road Transportation Affairs Mohammad Raoufi said in Semnan on Sunday that road accidents across the nation caused a staggering 189,245 death and injuries in the last Iranian year (ended March 20), IRNA reported.

He said of this number, 21,000 were killed and the remaining injured. He also acknowledged that the figure is 'quite high'.

The figures are based on the coroners data and most of the fatalities are caused by injuries to the head, chest or neck, Raoufi said adding that wearing seat belts can drastically reduce the number of such unfortunate incidents.

He said a large part of national income is wasted over these type of traffic accidents, citing a figure of rls 4,000 billion to 5,000 billion annually as the approximate damages.

Raoufi said Iran's traffic-related fatalities significantly exceeds those in a country like Britain 'where with five times the number of vehicles and the same amount of traffic, 3,500 people died in road accidents in 1999'.

"Even countries such as Turkey and Pakistan have considerably lower traffic fatalities compared to Iran," the official underlined.

On another issue he referred to consumption of over 28 billion litters of gasoline and diesel in the nation with an annual value of five billion dollars. A sound traffic management system can drastically reduce such wastage of national resources.

He also blamed about 70 percent of pollution in the cities on gasoline-powered vehicles.

Iran has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world with an average of 200,000 reported annually.

On average, over 15,000 people are killed and 87,000 injured in traffic-related accidents in the country annually. In statistical terms, one person is killed every 40 minutes and one injured every seven minutes.

Transport experts blame most of the accidents on dilapidated vehicles and reckless driving.

Over 1.5 million dilapidated cars which have been running for over 20 years are plying on Iranian roads. Many of the vehicles over 15 years of age are still operating in Iran, requiring adoption of a serious plan for their replacement.

Dilapidated vehicles, insufficient emergency road assistance, lack of communication facilities to swiftly relay information on traffic-related accidents and inadequate emergency centers on roads are the main causes of the high death toll in road accidents in the country, traffic experts say.

... Payvand News - 7/20/03 ... --

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